Posts Tagged ‘Roger Goodell’

What To Make of the Tired and Disturbing Case of Ezekiel Elliott

Sunday, November 5th, 2017

by Gus Griffin







The only thing that I am certain of in the battle between the Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel

Elliott and the NFL, which wants to suspend him for 6 games over allegations of domestic violence, is that

I am tired of it and want it to end!

Beyond that, all bets are off.

My initial thinking when pondering writing this was to rail against the self-interest obsessed Cowboy

fans, Jerry Jones’ white male wealth privilege and those apologists, mostly men, for abusers.

Then I did what I hope every opinion writer does: I actually engaged in a more detailed researching of

the “central charge” (I’ll explain why the quotations for this later) against Elliott. After doing this I have

come to the only conclusion anyone could come to, which is that I have no idea who is the victim

between Elliott and his accuser. The inquire raises more questions than it answers. To briefly summarize

the reasons for doubting the accuser are the following:

1) Text messages secured by the NFL show the accuser discussing blackmailing Elliott with a sex


2) The accuser tried to convince a friend to lie on her behalf and support her claim that Elliott was responsible for her bruises. The friend refused and cited a fight between the accuser and another lady in an affidavit as the possible source of her bruises; and

3) She verbally threatened to ruin Elliott

It’s important to be an ally of women in the fight against domestic violence. As a man, I believe that I can

play a similar role in this struggle as Whites can play in combating racism. I also believe that I have taken

concrete steps to be an ally. The data is clear in that the overwhelming number of allegations of

domestic abuse are true. Having said that, the quest to be an ally does not mean that I am obliged to

blindly endorse the allegations of everyone. Basic fairness demands that allegations, even from a

historically abused demographic, be scrutinized and when that is done in this case, the only conclusion is

that the accuser’s credibility is suspect, so much so that the NFL’s own lead investigator recommended

no suspension for Elliott.

So why is this still a pending issue dangling over the head of Elliott, you ask? There are two primary

reasons for this:

1) Ezekiel Elliott has been a knucklehead with enough documented acts that indicate a lack of

respect for women and poor impulse control and judgment in general. When the totality of his

record is considered, it is not that much of a stretch to believe Elliott is capable of what he is

being accused. The NFL collective bargaining agreement, which the players sign off on permits

the commissioner to consider such incidents in a cumulative manner when pondering discipline.

Therefore, any reviewing of the “central charge” alone is incomplete. It cannot be refuted by

“the police did not charge him” common claim because it’s not a legal process but a workplace

disciplinary process;

2) The NFL has an inconsistent track record when dealing with its players accused of violence

towards women, be it Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, or Josh Brown. As a result, there is tremendous

pressure to get this one right;

3) Elliott is the best player on the most popular team in the most popular sport in America. Anyone in that position, regardless of race, with these accusations is going to draw more scrutiny than say a punter, as was the case with kicker Josh Brown.

You may ask how the NFL can get it right if the player is literally not guilty of the accusation. That’s when

it gets even more complicated. Like it or not, there are at least 2 factors that the NFL considers BEFORE

the actual merits of the accusation. Those two are money and public relations. The actual merits of the

charges are at best a distant third . Money is easy enough to understand. Anything that the NFL deems as having the potential to dip into its bottom line must be dealt with ASAP. Then there are the public

relations of the issue, which is a direct extension of the money factor. This can be best summarized by

saying that the NFL is more concerned with damage control than it is the damage itself. That means

actually caring about domestic violence is not nearly as important to them as appearing to care about

the issue. What this all means is that in the wake of botching the Ray Rice and Josh Brown cases, they

needed a pound of flesh.

Enter Ezekiel Elliott!

So, after multiple court injunctions and stays and no clear ending to the stalemate, here we are.

Based on history, it’s highly unlikely that Elliott will avoid a suspension. It’s not a question of if he will sit

but when, and for how long. After all, even the golden boy, Tom Brady, eventually had to sit. Judges are

very hesitant to overturn provisions of a collectively bargained agreement and that is what the NFL has

as its trump card. Given that, what I have never quite understood is why the Cowboys didn’t play this

differently. Why not take the precedent of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger back in 2010? He got the

same 6-game suspension for multiple accusations of sexual assault. It was eventually reduced to 4

games, during which the Steelers went 3-1. They would win the AFC that year, making it to the Super

Bowl, a highly unlikely accomplishment had they taken the Cowboys approach to Elliott’s situation this

year. Even if Elliott’s suspension were not reduced, the 6 games would be over by now. They could have

gone 3-3 (their record with him after 6) without him. They would have him back, healthy and rested for

the second half of the season, including both games against the high-flying, first place Eagles. Now that is all in doubt, as are the Cowboys’ playoffs hopes.

So why didn’t they take that approach? I can only come up with 3 possible reasons:

1) Jerry Jones is used to getting his way and would not back down;

2) Elliot, like most professional athletes, is programmed not to back down and is engaged in this process in the same way; or

3) He actually did not abuse her.

I do not know which one, two, or all three might have been at the heart of the Cowboys’ strategy.

That disturbs me but not nearly as much as the fact that this saga has given a platform to misogynist and

apologist for those who abuse women.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

WHAT DOES IT TAKE?: Greg Hardy, the need for pictures, and what it says about America

Monday, November 9th, 2015

by Gus Griffin







I’m clear about Steven A. Smith’s  agenda: he caught a lotta flak after the Ray Rice abuse case and is now pandering to the very folks who wanted his head.
What is more useful is to discuss the threshold of proof necessary to acknowledge the mistreatment of some, particularly women, Black, and Latino folks.
On due process terms, it seems to me that only the Dallas Cowboys can take any action against Hardy and we all know that if they did cut him, more than a few teams will be lined up to sign him.  I’m clear that Greg Hardy is a bully and likely a psychopath. I would shed no tear if he never played in the league again. But I did not need to see pictures of his abuse to come to that line of thinking. The fact that anyone needed pictures to get to this level of outrage means that this is much bigger than Greg Hardy. This is about America and whose suffering is at the back of the line for addressing. It’s clear that women being brutalized by men and Black and Latino folks by police requires a certain level of visual proof beyond that of most others. In the Black man’s case, Eric Garner, sometimes even the picture isn’t enough. I’m not suggesting that alleged victims are all truthful. That “cry wolf” opportunist element is out there. But there is a distinct difference in justifiable scrutiny of the truth and hoping one is not being truthful so that we can maintain our business as usual world views about women, Black, and Latino folks being primarily responsible for their mistreatment. I say we because on the Greg Hardy issue, I am just as much of part of the problem. Certainly not for condoning violence against women but because Hardy’s arrogance and indifference is fueled by the very fundamental fact, be it conscious or subconscious, that he knows I and most of you will keep watching the NFL. Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones know it as well. So Ill climb down from my soapbox and hopefully “Screaming” A Smith will soon follow.
Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports


Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

by Gus Griffin






(Image via

(Image via

Hell no, [Roger] Goodell and the league didn’t want Marshawn [Lynch] to win the [Super Bowl XLIX] MVP.  But Vegas did not do well since most of the public and underground money was on New England.  The other factor is that there is no guarantee that sports writers would have voted for him anyway.  Journalists have a long history of being vindictive against any athlete that does not accommodate them.  The great Ted Williams had TWO triple-crown seasons in which he did not win league MVP.  Hall of Famer Eddie Murray never won the MVP and I still contend though in a losing effort, Terrell Owens should have won the award [in Super Bowl XXXIX] 10 years ago.  None of them had good relationships with the media.  “Beast Mode” would have deserved it, but I’m not sure he would have won, even with a different outcome.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

A Letter to Roger Goodell

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

By LeRoy McConnell III


I  never thought I would see the day when the game of football would be watered down enough to allow women to play in the National Football League!  I never thought this day would happen.  You have shown that you are an equal opportunist, and for that sake I will be entering my seven year old daughter in little league football this fall!

I think it’s ridiculous that we are in 2012 suspending and fining four New Orleans Saints players for being part of the so-called bounty program that lead to no career-ending injuries on the football field.  Jonathan Vilma gets suspended for a year for being part of the bounty program?  Wasn’t he taking orders from his coach?  This is professional football, isn’t it?  Football is America’s newest past time.  Players look forward to the fall season to play this wonderful game because of the love, passion, and without a doubt the paycheck that provides them a good living.   

Mr. Goodell, with all these rule changes, you, the commish are destroying this barbaric game I have enjoyed watching every Sunday.  A defender can’t hit a “defenseless” receiver; I wonder how many receptions are completed because of that rule?  Helmet to helmet hits; Football is a contact sport and collisions happen.  No one is thinking about trying to tackle with their heads.  It’s funny, I have seen players hit with their shoulders and still get a penalty for helmet to helmet contact.  The rules are unnecessary and flawed!  I love the pending new rule about trying to omit the kickoff, because it’s dangerous?  I believe in safety but stop trying to put kid gloves on grown men!  Each individual who plays this game knows the risk of injury.  I don’t feel sorry for football players who go out there each weekend and play this violent sport.  I think it’s a bunch of crap that these players have lawsuits pending because of concussions and other injuries they develop during their careers.  There is risk in anything and everything that you do.  I don’t see anybody quitting the game because of an injury.  I see athletes working their butts off to get back in the game.

Mr. Goodell, I don’t see our Government placing yellow jerseys on our military personnel.  Our  soldiers know the minute they sign up, the risk they are putting themselves in.  Why do you think they sign on?  Is it because of the patriotism, honor, integrity?  We know it’s definitely not for the pay!

What about police and firefighters who risk their lives every time someone calls 911?  Citizens have to think police officers are insane for potentially getting shot at for a living, or watching firefighters go into burning buildings while everyone else is running out of them!  Police officers wear protective vests but it doesn’t mean they won’t get injured.  Firefighters wear SCBA masks to avoid smoke, but somehow are still threatened by black lungs.  I don’t see anyone protecting them.  There are more police personnel and firefighters that are in worse shape long term than anybody in your league.  I guess what I am really trying to say is, I don’t care about injuries in your league!  I don’t care about what happens to the players when their careers are over.  It’s risky business out there.  Do you think your league is the only place people get hurt?  Mr. Goodell, I bet if you asked a firefighter or police officer why they chose their profession they would tell you because of their love and passion. 

Mr. Goodell, you run the National Football League, and ever since you have taken over as commissioner, you have become more of a dictator.  Your fans have paid good money, whether they attend the functions in person, go to a bar, or watch your product at home.  There is nothing wrong with the game right now.  The bounties in the NFL resulted in the suspensions toward the Saints organization.  Who’s career ended because of these bounties?  Did you suspend people because of a tactic to get the job done?  NO ONE WAS HURT from it.  I am sitting here as a novice spectator watching the NHL playoffs and all I see are hits after hits.  Makes me wonder if America should be watching hockey over the newest past time.

LeRoy McConnell of “A Fan’s Point of View”, for War Room Sports